Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

UK Ratings: Top 50+ Documentary & Lifestyle Programs in 2015

This week, we briefly cover the 50+ highest-rated Factual + Lifestyle programs in the UK for 2015, Year-to-Date.

Who Guessed?

  • I phoned several UK producers, and none of them correctly guessed #1.
  • The BBC’s Countryfile came in on top (13.2 rating / 7.7mn).
  • For 25+ years, this weekly hour has drawn viewers to its snapshots of rustic British life. Read our earlier detailed coverage here.
  • Countryfile is a tentpole for the BBC1 schedule.  It delivers audiences way above its budget.

Top Gear

  • Countryfile gets a fraction of the promotion invested in the Top Gear franchise (#3 / 6.9 mn).
  • Amazon recently put a value of $250 mn on the Top Gear team for a 36-episode deal.
  • I’m a bit of a broken record on the subject of how public broadcasters don’t value their unsexy but hit programming franchises like Countryfile and Antiques Roadshow.
  • The BBC is wasting opportunities to build viewer loyalty, which is very important now that the Beeb is so politically threatened, like public TV systems everywhere in the English-speaking world.

Here is the UK Top 50+, with more comments below…

1BBC 1Countryfile7,71413.2
2BBC 1Masterchef6,95211.9
3BBC 2Top Gear6,92111.9
4BBC 1Eastenders: Backstage Live6,84911.7
5BBC 1Eat Well For Less?5,3659.2
7BBC 1Fake Or Fortune?5,2149.0
8BBC 1Celebrity Masterchef5,0238.6
9BBC 1Diy Sos: The Big Build4,8248.3
10BBC 1Rome’s Invisible City4,8208.3
11ITVMafia w Trev. Mcdonald4,7228.1
12BBC 1The Truth About Calories4,5607.8
13BBC 1The Truth About Medicine4,4457.6
14ITVLong Lost Family4,4397.6
15BBC 1Pets: Wild At Heart4,4237.6
16ITVJoanna Lumley Trans-Siberia4,3417.5
17BBC 1Secret Britain4,3207.4
18BBC 1Animals In Love4,2457.3
19BBC 1Super Cute Animals4,2307.2
20BBC 1Eclipse Live4,2107.2
21BBC 1The Met: Policing London4,1757.2
22BBC 124 Hours In The Past4,1467.1
23BBC 1Chelsea Flower Show3,9976.9
24BBC 1Shark3,9946.9
25BBC 1The Gift3,9126.7
26C5Celebrity Big Brother3,7096.4
27BBC 2The Great British Sewing Bee3,6116.2
28C4Island w Bear Grylls: Women3,5776.1
29C4Secret Life Of 4 Year Olds3,5386.1
30BBC 2Back In Time For Dinner3,5236.0
31C4Benefits Street3,4676.0
32C4Island w Bear Grylls: Men3,4215.9
33ITV100 YO Drivers Ride Again3,4195.9
34BBC 1The Truth About Fat3,3985.8
35ITVRichard Wilson On The Road3,3975.8
36BBC 1Billion Dollar Chicken Shop3,3925.8
37ITVCar Crash: Caught On Camera3,3875.8
38ITVP. O’grady’s Animal Orphans3,3335.7
39BBC 1Atlantis3,2725.6
40BBC 2B’naire’s Paradise: Necker Is3,2665.6
41ITVMore Tales From N’humber3,2465.6
42BBC 1Inside Out3,2085.5
43C4The Undateables3,1965.5
44BBC 2Six Puppies And Us3,1835.5
46BBC 1Don’t Tell The Bride3,1425.4
47BBC 2Japan: Earth’s Enchanted Is3,1245.4
48C4Our Guy In India3,1155.3
49BBC 1The Truth About Your Teeth3,1045.3
50BBC 2Dragons’ Den3,1045.3
51C4The Billion Pound Hotel3,1045.3
52BBC 1Antiques Road Trip3,1025.3

Genres in Top 20

  • Food gets bigger, with 4 programs in the Top 20, and lots more further down the list.
  • Animals: Blue Chip is giving way to ‘Cute’. I moderated a great panel at Sunnyside of the Doc where the BBC’s Natural History strategy was a topic. You can read more about the discussion here in Realscreen.
  • There’s not much, if any Blue Chip of any genre in the Top 20, and that’s a surprise.
  • Are UK broadcasters and viewers dumbing down?

Lots of Hosts

  • Rome’s Invisible City features immersive hosts who belay their way into the catacombs, Joanna Lumley heads to Siberia, and lots more…
  • And even better when they’re hooked up with lovable animals, like Liz Bonnin and Paul O’grady.

No Fresh Factor?

  • C4’s innovative and brilliantly-cast Gogglebox rises up the rankings to #6.
  • But there’s nothing new like it in the 2015 schedules.

Sweet Spots: U.S. Factual Networks’ Production Cost Benchmarks 2015

What do 30 channels pay for programs?
For documentaries? And reality series?
Is our commissioning team paying more or less than our competition?
Do preferred producers earn a premium?
Does my pitch fall in the budget sweet spot for my target network? interviewed dozens of executives and producers to create a unique source of proprietary information about network budgets

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